LOCKPORT – A murder scene for Matthew Broderick’s new movie, “The American Side,” was shot along the towpath at the Erie Canal Locks and inside the Lockport Cave on Monday.
Lockport Mayor Michael W. Tucker said Lockport’s role all happened quite by accident.
The film, which also features Janeane Garofalo, was co-written by an Eden native, Greg Stuhr. The actors and crew had been shooting in Buffalo, but a stop in Lockport had not been planned.
Tucker said the story involves a guy who goes over the falls and ends up at the Locks in Lockport.
“I really don’t know how it all happened. The producer told me she was coming through the week before last and was driving around,” Tucker said. “She hadn’t planned on doing anything here, but the guy she was with stopped to take a cellphone call. While he was talking, she got out of the car and started walking around the Locks and said, ‘This is where we are going to do it.’ ”
Tucker said the Flight of Five, a series of antique cascading locks, caught the filmmakers’ eye, and they thought it would fit the story line.
Police Chief Lawrence W. Eggert said that his department was approached by the mayor Thursday and that he sought three volunteers to be extras. “I thought they were going to be camera-shy and I would have trouble getting volunteers,” Eggert said of the officers, “but quite frankly, the first three people we asked immediately thought it was a great idea.”
Detective Kevin L. Schrader, Officer Aaron K. Belling and Lt. Sal Licata perform as nonspeaking extras. In the scene shot at the canal, the officers help the actors recover the victim and wheel the body into the ambulance.
“It was cool. You kind of see how they put things together. There’s 50-some people in the crew and on the trolleys and the actor-police officers, with people who walked around with umbrellas over them so they wouldn’t get sweaty,” Eggert said.
Tucker and Eggert, who were on the set Monday, said the crew spent hours filming the same few minutes over and over again. “Kind of like watching paint dry, if you are not an actor,” Eggert noted.
But he said everyone was excited to watch – even though Broderick wasn’t there – with 50 to 60 people lining up on the Pine Street Bridge for a behind-the-scenes view.
“The producer told me they liked the area and would be back in a couple of weeks to look for spots for future movies,” Tucker said. “I will show them the Palace, Old City Hall, the Harrison Building; they like stuff like that. So who knows what happens down the road?”